If you look around in the African-American community you see so many embracing themselves for the first time. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s not a phase for most. This is the time to really embrace yourself in all of your flaws and especially when you’re Black or minority and there are limited amounts of things you can see in print, film, etc. The time for making moves for you is now.
One of the things that I have always hated which is sad in itself to write is that I never wanted to find out my natural state of my hair. Let me break it down because I am not alone in this at all. On Saturday I did the most bravest thing ever and that was to cut the relaxer out of my hair and see what the natural state of my hair was. To some, this is no big deal but I have had a relaxer in my hair since I was about 4 or 5 years old. I was always told that my hair was “nappy.” Now phrases like kinky and thick is being celebrated. The conversation of what is good and bad hair is always going on in the Black community. I know that since having my first daughter I have always told her that healthy hair is the best hair. I didn’t want to get caught up in her “kinky” hair being less than others because I knew that was what I was being taught from a little girl. My twin when we were younger had that “grease and water hair.” Her hair type was always the type that my mom could easily mange and mine wasn’t do to it being coarse, nappy or untamable without the aid of a relaxer. With a relaxer my tresses became like my sister in the sense I could do more styles with it.
As I became an adult before kids I was in a salon every 2 weeks getting it done and every 4 weeks I was getting my regiment of “creamy crack.” By the way creamy crack is relaxer so it became normal. I learned how to take care of my hair with a relaxer. I knew what I could and what I couldn’t do. So fast forward to Saturday, my decision to cut the relaxer out has been months in the making. This wasn’t just a new me thing. It had to do with the fact that until I made my decision I put a weave in my hair in December. I wanted to do the “big chop” in January but I got cold feet. So back to Saturday I was thinking of all of the pros and cons. The cons had more to do with the stigma of natural hair. Since I have been relaxing my hair all my life I knew I would have to chop most of my hair. So the stigma came from appearing bald-headed, or looking like a man. I have had short hair several times including the months before I put the weave in I had cut my hair. My hair grows back fast so when I took the weave out this time I really under normal circumstances could have just relaxed it and it would have been in a bob style.
I go to the salon of my choice here in Philadelphia and I tell them I am ready for the “big chop.” My hands are sweating, my heart is beating fast, and I feel like I am going to throw up. I thought about my daughters. One has the same kinky hair that I do the other has thick curly hair. How would I want them to respond about themselves? My hair is my glory but I can be who I need to be without relaxed tresses. As I was being washed it felt weird not being based for the relaxer. I kept looking around. I finally was washed and the cutting began. I kept taking deep breaths as the hair was falling on the floor. My hair dresser is telling me that she has to cut some more and I am thinking here I go, bald is going to be my expected end. However she tries to show me my hair after just the cut but I refuse. I just know what I want my hair to be. Can my hair be healthy with a relaxer yes, it has been at times. However I just don’t want chemicals in my hair. I want to embrace this for me and for my daughters.
So the cut is done she styles me and reveals that I actually have wash and go hair. I am looking at her like she has 3 eye balls. Like who has some wash and curl hair? But she reveals it and I am super happy. One its super convenient since I do work out at least 3 days a week. I love it. I love the look. It’s what I wanted and for the first time in years I don’t have to wait 24 hours for my hair style to grow on me. I also am learning that team natural doesn’t mean team don’t comb or do anything to your hair. Your hair needs to be treated well with regular washes, moisturizer, and love just like relaxed hair. And no I don’t mean the same methods. I mean at the end of the day relaxed or natural if you don’t take care of it, it won’t look or be much of anything. You can’t be lazy in taking care of yourself whether or not you can afford to go to the hair dresser or not. Taking pride in your hair is the number way to take care of your hair in either phase.
So as I get home I don’t have nerves of what my family or husband will think. Not one. I walked in like any other day hungry and ready to eat. I was at the salon for quite some time. I post the pic on Facebook not looking for validation. I was happy and I was okay with the world seeing my happiness. I wasn’t looking for approval from my parents and siblings either. I like and love it and that is what is important. I am determined to eat right, look tight, and be happy and that means putting my needs to the top of the list. I am loving the skin I am in not because I am team natural but because I am embracing and finding ways to create the happiness that isn’t always there. Life sucks but I refuse to look bad and feel bad in this life.
I am not a pro in this natural hair thing. I do not pretend to be. I do know how I felt the moments leading up to my big chop as well as how I felt afterward. I do know that it’s not easy to transition. I am well aware as I learn my hair. I have to dispel the thoughts that have come back to my mind already.
I am not advocating team natural over relaxed hair. I refuse to get into a debate over it. There are pros and cons to both processes. What I am advocating is being strong and confident like we teach our daughters. What makes you look and feel the strongest go with that. This day and age everything is destined to kill our vibe, time for women and men to find ways to be happy and healthy from the inside out. I choose to be happy, fierce and strong in my own skin…..